CASE STUDY: 8 weeks old, crying and poor napping
*this is a case study from a real-life mum who reached out for help. We share our case studies in the hope it may help other mums who are in the same, or similar, situations. Not everyone parents in the same way, so please do not judge, criticize or demean these mothers and the parenting choices they have made in the best interests of their babies and their families.
Room: Swaddled, white noise, dark room
History: Ivy had been born at full term and a good size, she did however have a traumatic birth. From the outset she was a very unsettled baby, but being a first time mother Rebecca didn't know what was 'normal'. Everyone told her the first 6 weeks were the hardest so she thought that Ivy's crying was just due to this. Ivy catnapped from birth and only ever slept 45 minutes at a time during the day.
5 weeks old: Due to the traumatic birth and constant crying it was recommended Rebecca see an osteopath to correct any alignment issues. Ivy's head and neck were all perfect, but the osteopath mentioned her gut was pretty windy and had trapped air. Rebecca started working hard to burp Ivy properly after feeding and started using over-the-counter Infacol Wind Drops.
6 weeks old: Ivy would bring her knees up to her chest, crying all afternoon and night, catnapping continued, she wouldn't sleep in her bassinet.
8 weeks old: She was screaming inconsolably during the day now and still catnapped. Ivy would feed, then cry, then want more; this could go on for hours. Rebecca decided to start following our Sleep Program for the first time to help rule out if she was actually over-tired or under-tired as both can cause babies to catnap and cry. After 3 days Ivy continued to catnap and was still very unsettled. At this point, Rebecca posted in our Facebook Support Group and asked for some advice.
After some trouble-shooting, Amanda (from Little Ones) told Rebecca that it sounded like something was inhibiting her baby's ability to follow the Sleep Program and recommended that she see a medical professional because things didn't sound right. Rebecca took Ivy to her GP who recommended trying Gaviscon, however Ivy wouldn't take it at all and after a few more days Rebecca took Ivy to a paediatrician.
The paediatrician diagnosed Ivy with reflux and colic and prescribed medication to help with both. After a week of the medication Ivy was a far more settled baby but still not happy at certain times of the day and continued to be unpredictable.
9 weeks old: Rebecca decided to follow our Sleep Program again. This time, Ivy wanted to sleep at the same times and for the same lengths as the Guide because there was nothing preventing her from doing so. She was finally a happy baby who was having great long naps. She wasn't overtired and exhausted during the day anymore and Rebecca was able to get Ivy to sleep in her bassinet for the first time.
Because Ivy was struggling to follow the rhythm of our Sleep Program, we suspected something was amiss. A baby this age should quite easily fall into this natural pattern to their day; the only reason they wouldn't is if something was preventing them from settling and sleeping well. A baby following our Programs can generally rule out hunger and over or under tiredness as a cause for the unsettled behaviour, so it is often a lot easier to spot medical factors. Once baby Ivy was medicated to treat her reflux and colic, she was a lot more comfortable, was no longer in pain and therefore able to naturally follow a more predictable daily schedule, leading to even better sleep!
*This case is not to be used in place of advice by a medical professional
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Make sure you check out Crying over spilt milk: what is reflux? or Why is my newborn NOT sleeping? (And screaming instead) for more advice.